Grade 7 Unit 4
Two weeks of class time.
A minimum of 10 class hours is recommended, however that may be expected to vary depending on class organization and accessibility of resources. For this project, students will probably rely most heavily on the Internet, encyclopedias, and atlases.
History-Social Science Content Standards:
7.4 Students analyze the geographic. Political, economic, religious, and social structures of the Sub-Saharan civilizations of Ghana and Mali in Medieval Africa, in terms of:
H/SS Analysis Skills
Chronological and Spatial Thinking
2.students construct various timelines of key events, people, and periods of the historical era being studied
3. students use a variety of maps and documents to identify physical and cultural features of neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries and to explain the historical migration of people, expansion and disintegration of empires, and the growth of economic systems
Research, Evidence and Point of View
2. students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories
3. students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories
4. students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them
5. students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, author's perspectives)
Language Arts Standards met include:
W 1.3 Use strategies of note-taking, outlining, and summarizing to structure composition drafts.
W 1.4 Identify topics; ask and evaluate answers; and develop ideas leading to inquiry, investigation, and research.
W 2.3 Write research reports that pose relevant and tightly drawn questions about the topic, convey clear and accurate perspectives on the subject, and include evidence generated through the formal research process.
LS 2.3 Deliver research presentations that pose relevant and concise questions about the topic, convey clear and accurate perspectives on the subject, include evidence generated through formal research process and cite reference sources appropriately.
The purpose of this lesson is to provide a context for the study of medieval Sub-Saharan Africa. Students are asked to look at the area through eyes of travelers in the company of one of history's greatest travelers, Ibn Battuta. The project has been structured to include all the State standards for this unit, and familiarizing students with these standards before they begin their work is recommended. Students should be expected to include as many of the standard elements as possible in their maps and journals.
The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century by Ross E. Dunn (University of California Press) may also be helpful. For a bibliography of additional resources, see the following Web site:
This lesson assumes that the class has access to one or two online computers. If more computers are available, students should do their journals and maps using as much technology as possible. A computer generated slide show could accompany the map presentations. A number of ideas for additional activities relevant to this study may be found in a lesson plan developed for fourth grade by Jayanna Kelly and Marie McPherson titled "Africa: A Cultural Safari," found on the Web at:
Allow time at the beginning of the lesson to develop a grading rubric with the class for the different elements of the lesson. A useful Web site with information for involving students in the assessment process may be found at http://www.interactiveclassroom.com/materials_performance_4.htm. This site provides a model for students to design their own grading rubric. By doing so, students have an opportunity to really understand grading criteria and internalize them before beginning the work of the lesson.
Groups should be heterogeneous and assigned by the teacher.